Kia has at last pulled the wraps from its new 2015 Grand Carnival, set for a world debut at this week’s New York Auto Show.
For 2014, the Grand Carnival reveals all-new styling, more space, and a new 3.3 litre V6 petrol engine to replace the old model’s 3.5 litre unit.
Replacing the now nine year-old second-generation model, Kia’s new people mover was first previewed in 2011 with the stylised KV7 concept.
Much of the KV7’s look has fallen by the wayside, but the new Grand Carnival has hung onto the concept’s stepped window design in the jump to production.
Up front, the new Grand Carnival wears a broad new version of Kia’s familiar ‘tiger nose’ grille design, flanked by largel scalpel-like headlights with integrated daytime LEDs.
Large sliding doors dominate each side of the big van, and the rear gets new Mercedes GL-like tail lights.
The big new people mover is shown here in two forms, one a sports trim with an inverted-mesh grille, larger wheels and a sports bumper design; the other a more conservatively styled family and fleet hauler with smaller wheels and a slatted grille.
In the cabin is a large dash pad in keeping with the people-mover formula, shown here in a two-tone brown scheme with the same new steering wheel featured in the updated 2014 Optima sedan.
There’s a large satellite navigation and infotainment display in the dash centre, above a standalone control bar and air-conditioning switches.
The new Grand Carnival will offer seating for up to eight and, depending on the configuration, will offer second-row ‘First Class’ seats similar in concept to the ‘Captain’s chairs’ in the new Honda Odyssey.
The second row can also be pushed forward on in-built tracks and folded up to allow for ‘on the go’ cargo carrying.
Kia says it has blessed the new Carnival with a 36 percent increase in torsional rigidity, despite riding on a 40mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor.
In America, the new Grand Carnival (sold there as the Sedona) will be offered with a new 3.3 litre direct-injected petrol V6 engine.
Delivering 205kW at 6000rpm and 336Nm of torque at 5200rpm, the new ‘Lambda’ engine - a version of the 221kW unit that powers the large K9 sedan - replaces the 202kW 3.5 litre engine of the current model.
Australian details are still to be revealed, although offering the 3.3 litre engine would give the Carnival a handy leg-up over its four-cylinder Odyssey and Picasso rivals.
A four-cylinder 142kW/429Nm diesel engine is also offered with the current Grand Carnival in Australia, although the company has yet to detail a wider engine spread in the new model.
But, speaking with TMR today from New York, Kia Australia’s Kevin Hepworth said that we can likely expect both the 3.3 litre six and a version of the 2.2 litre diesel.
Standard features in the new model include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Roll Over Mitigation (ROM) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC).
Local launch timing is still to be confirmed, but Mr Hepworth told TMR that an Australian debut is “looking likely for very early next year”.
The new Carnival will be a welcome addition to the company’s Australian line-up, with the current model’s sales year-to-date sales (end of March) down from 664 to 478.
In March alone, Kia Australia sold 184 Grand Carnivals, compared to 256 in March 2013.
On that front, the now segment-leading Odyssey badge has recorded 598 sales so far in 2014, compared to 263 for the same period in 2013.
For Kia, the all-new Rondo has added some much needed sales, growing to 145 year-to-date from 83 for the same period in 2013.